In the big city there you
don’t notice things the way you
normally would outside them, instead you
see them differently because you
can’t see close enough and you
can’t hear quiet enough and you
can’t see under the speed of it because you
have to be fast.
He walked the streets loud frightening endless bright and
briefcase in hand music in ear black suit on back and
the guitar player strummed his soul heart memories into sound and
sang his words short small effective right and the singer’s voice spoke true and
the man felt the grab jab pierce of reminiscence and
cried then: water on face warm glaze on eye and
on the street in the big city he walked and
continued walking because in the big city you
have to be fast.
They were young seven and eight and seven and because
he saw her playing on the swings in the cold sun and because
he thought she was beautiful like the others weren’t and because
she gave him her seat to play for a while the man
(but he wasn’t a man then) thought she was beautiful and because
her name was Mary he said:
Mary, have this chocolate stick.
But give me half.
They were older thirteen and fourteen and thirteen and he
wanted to kiss her but she said he couldn’t so he
asked again the next day and the next and he
said sweet things and bought a rose with all the money he had and he
gave it to her on the morning of June Nineteenth and because he
hadn’t forgotten her birthday and because he
was called Adam she said:
Adam, take this kiss
But only one.
They were older seven and eight and nine-teen and because she
knew he loved her and knew how to she
wrote him a song and called it I Wish I Knew Who You Are and because she
seemed to want to know he
took her to the park where he first saw her and because he
wanted her to know too he
talked to her for days about himself and because she
liked what she heard she laughed and cried and she
told him about herself too and because they
loved each other they said:
My love, take this heart
But care for it.
They were older and twenty-three-four-five and because he
found a job in a big office far away he
convinced her to move to the city with him because he
thought it was best and she agreed and because he
loved nothing more than the smell of her hair brown and
the sight of her eyes big and
the crackle of her voice silk and because he
could afford it now he said:
Mary, take this ring
But please say yes.
They were older and thirty-one-two-three and because she
vomited on the bathroom floor hot blood red and she
had headaches and forgot his name sometimes and she
felt numb in her arms and legs and feet so he
took her to the doctor and because she
didn’t seem like herself angry erratic and forgetful he
worried it would be a serious psychological problem but he was wrong because
brain tumours aren’t psychological.
The man the boy walked in the city street where he
remembered his beautiful Mary she
who let him play on the swings and kiss her and love her so he
cried in the middle of the busy city street but he
was seen by no one even though he
cried there plainly for everyone to see
but because in the city there you
don’t notice things the way you normally would and because
in the city you have to be fast you
don’t see those who cry.